Dad denies holding up Fleetwood restaurant with an imitation gun

Fleetwood KFC
Fleetwood KFC

A man has denied robbing a KFC outlet with a replica weapon.

Michael Atkinson, 40, took to the witness stand at Preston Crown Court where he denies robbery, two firearms offences and a burglary.

The defendant, of Harris Street, Fleetwood, is accused of using an imitation Colt gun in a robbery at the restaurant on Lord Street, Fleetwood, in which he allegedly stole £600 takings from a female employee.

He pleaded not guilty to the actual charge of robbery, but admits he did rob the restaurant "under duress", fearing for his children's lives, due to a long standing drug debt.

Jurors heard earlier that day he is alleged to have burgled a property on Byron Street, Fleetwood, on June 5, in which £2,770 of property was taken, including two imitation Colt revolvers and imitation ammunition and jewellery - which he denies.

He is accused of possessing the gun the following day to cause fear it would be used against a police community support officer (PCSO).

Atkinson claims he was merely attempting to hand the gun over to the officer, and did not make any threats.

During cross examination, Atkinson claimed he had "wanted to be caught" for the robbery because he owed a long standing drugs debt.

He told jurors he was "being watched by a man on a motorbike".

Prosecuting, Judith McCullough said: " Help me with this. When did you become aware of the man on the motorbike?"

He replied: "From that morning."

She asked: "Why did you not tell police in interview you were being followed by a man on a motorcycle?"

He said: "Because I was getting watched."

She added: "Why not mention him before - is it because it's just not true?"

Atkinson said: "I always admit when I'm wrong, I always admit when I've done it."

The barrister said: " You've never committed an armed robbery before though have you?"

He told jurors he had intended to get caught, adding: "If I wanted to get away with an armed robbery I would have worn a mask - I wouldn't have took my cap off.

"I took the time in there."

Ms McCullough suggested his claims he owed a debt were untrue.

He replied: " So I've spent the last ten years covering my tracks then commit an armed robbery?"

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, said the case would be summed up later today.

(proceeding)